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The  Origin of the Snowshoe

Snowshoes were first introduced to the Cat Fancy by a breeder in Philadelphia in the late 1960's. Three kittens of Siamese parentage that were born with white feet formed the foundation of the breed. American Bi-coloured Shorthairs were used to develop the breed

In 1986 a Snowshoe breeding project was started in the UK Snowshoes are registered with the Cat Association of Britain and are recognised for competition at medallist level.

Picture of my First Snowshoe Queen Colenufforsnow Xanthe.

Coldenufforsnow Xanthe, my first Snowshoe Queen


A Siamese litter in 1960 at the Kensing Siamese Cattery in Philadelphia PA, owned by Dorothy Hinds Daugherty, produced three kittens with four pure white mittens. Even though the variant did not re-occur, it struck the fancy of Dorothy to the point where she developed the first Traditional Snowshoe line by crossing her Siamese with a bi-color American Shorthair.   The result was a sturdy, pointed cat with white markings on the face, chest and feet.  Eventually the continued breeding produced the trademark "V" shaped marking on the face in addition to the mitted trait.

Another breeder, Vikki Olander, of Norfolk, Virginia, wrote a standard for the new cat and pressed for its recognition, which was achieved in 1974. It was Olander who gave this breed a push with the other cat associations, but being the only breeder at that time, she was unable to receive much recognition. Three years of struggle brought more breeders on board until the breed received Championship status in nearly all of the other cat associations.  The American Cat Association (ACA) was the first to recognize the Snowshoe as a breed. Still considered a rare breed, the Snowshoe is now recognized by the American Association of Cat Enthusiasts (AACE), the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) and The International Cat Association (TICA). Snowshoes may be outcrossed to American Shorthairs, Oriental Shorthairs and Siamese without penalty.

In reality, 90% of all Traditional Snowshoes come from unregistered Traditional Siamese and Classic Siamese and unregistered mitted, pointed cats. The only American Shorthair used belonged to a breeder named Maia Sornson. This male American Shorthair was a registered first generation American Shorthair out of a black and white Classic Siamese cross. In addition the breed has a smattering of Extreme Wedge Siamese and Oriental Shorthair, but it is a small amount and a long way back. Breeders quickly learned that using Extreme Wedge Siamese, true American Shorthairs, or Tonkinese just ruined the type they were looking for.

Currently in the UK under GCCF registration policy, Snowshoes can be outcrossed with Siamese, bi-colour British short hair and bi-colour Ragdoll.  Some breeders are using these outcrosses to widen the gene pool, so first, second and third generation snowshoes will be available.  Snowshoes can’t be shown under GCCF until they are fourth generation.

Breed Type

A medium to large cat, the Snowshoe combines the heftiness of the American Shorthair, with the length of the Oriental. It is well balanced with sound conformation and strong muscle The unusual combination of pointing, the white pattern, and the moderate body build sets the Snowshoe apart from all other breeds
It has a sparkling personality and is human orientated and affectionate, making it attractive to the new pet owner or breeder and ideally suited to the cat-show scene.

Patterns and Colours

The Snowshoe pattern is complex, with the white markings superimposed on the Siamese pointing. The preferred pattern being white to the ankles in front, white to the hocks at the back and an inverted 'V on the face
All recognised point colours allowed.
Coat of medium short hair of medium texture, glossy and lying close to the body
Eyes of bright sparkling blue with good contrast against points colour and walnut shape

picture of Austin, Seal point stud boy

This is Austin, a seal point stud boy.

What They’re Like to Live With:

The Snowshoe has the outgoing personality of both the American Shorthair and the Siamese. It may or may not be talkative. When it does vocalize, it tends to have a softer, more melodic voice than the Siamese. The Snowshoe has a sparkling and affectionate personality and likes being with people, although some can be a bit shy with strangers. It generally gets along well with other cats if it’s properly raised and socialized. The Snowshoe is intelligent and trainable.


Ownership of a Snowshoe provides a pay back of love and affection. Touching and being touched is the order of their day. They have a mystic touch of aloofness but are not standoffish. As their forebears do, they love humans. In reality they don’t realize they are cats. They consider themselves people, and insist upon sleeping with their owners. Very inquisitive and intelligent, they can be taught a number of tricks.

Some members of the breed have become known for their fascination with water, and climb into the tub for a swim. Hours can be spent trying to flush the toilet so they can watch the water swirl around.

While not as loud or vocal as their Siamese ancestors, they are never at a loss for expressing themselves with a soft, melodic voice. If you are looking for a striking, bi-colored beauty with personality to spare, then the Traditional Snowshoe is the shoe that fits.

The Look of the Snowshoe

The Snowshoe is distinguished by its pointed coat, white markings on the feet and a white inverted V on the face that begins at the forehead and spreads down across the muzzle. The short coat comes in typical Siamese colors—seal, chocolate, lilac, blue, red, cream, cinnamon and fawn—and in two patterns, mitted and bicolor. Kittens are born white, and point color develops as they mature. Bright blue eyes peer out from a head shaped like a modified wedge and topped with medium-size ears that have slightly rounded tips. This is a medium-size cat with an intermediate body type that’s firm and muscular, not sleek or dainty.  The Snowshoe generally weighs 10 to 12 pounds.


The average Snowshoe lives between 10 to 14 years of age. They have few genetic defects and most of those are minor, such as kinked tails, crossed eyes and an umbilical hernia now and then.